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Heart Disease a Challenge for Younger Women

May 7, 2016
Plain English Version

Hearts and womenMen have crushing chest pain. Women have discomfort in their necks, shoulders, right arms, or dizziness and shortness of breath. More than one-third of women do not call 911 when having a heart attack.

When they get to the hospital, a doctor says, “They say they have indigestion, not chest pain – a big mistake.”

Heart disease afflicts as many women as men. They simply die from it ten years later than men. Heart disease is the number one killer of women.

Doctors are at fault, too. They often do not take it seriously. The do not make the proper recommendations. A doctor said, “Among women between the ages of 29 and 45, it looks like the incidence of heart disease is rising.”

One factor is stress. An expert says, “The youngest women in this country are more stressed than ever.”

Younger women are still smoking cigarettes and marijuana – a coronary risk. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise among Hispanic women. Half of the Hispanic women born in the United States will be diabetic by age 70.

A doctor said, “We are good at treating heart disease, but we are failing at prevention.”

Women taking drugs to lower cholesterol are led to think the drugs will undo the damage caused by poor diet choices and lack of exercise. The extra weight some women carry around the abdomen – the so-called apple shape – can cause high blood pressure and diabetes.

Women are prone to get blockages in the small vessels that feed the heart. This can cause tightness in the chest rather than crushing pain.

A healthy lifestyle and making good life decisions reduce the risk of heart disease. That is not a surprise.

Source: The New York Times April 14, 2015

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